Gingi's Izakaya is an institution in Northern Berlin and after all these years, it's still one of the top destinations for sushi.
Everything is not as it seems at Gingi's Izakaya on Rykestraße in Northern Prenzlauer Berg. In a restaurant where you would expect a Japanese sushi master to reign behind the bar and prepare your food, you will instead find a Turkish man in a Japanese outfit. Meet Gingi, the Turkish sushi master who runs one of the most unique sushi joints in Berlin.
“ You might have to look twice before you find this tiny eatery
The story of Gingi is well known in Berlin by now, but never the less still fascinating: A Turkish man who spent years in Japan learning the trade of sushi from the ground, only to take his experience with him and open a restaurant in Berlin. The place is called Gingi's Izakaya and resides in a unspectacular little restaurant venue located in the beautiful and slightly posh Kollwitzkiez. You might have to look twice before you find this tiny eatery. Not more than 15 guests fit in the venue and a reservation is always recommended. Once you do get a table at Gingi's you can either sit at one of the tables or take a seat at the bar and watch the sushi being prepared for you.
Gingi's Izakaya is truly an institution in the land of Berlin sushi, especially considering the general lack of competition in this field. Good sushi is not a commodity that's easy to come by in Berlin and there has not been a lot of development in the city's sushi landscape over the last five years. One reason is surely the supply problem, if you are serious about fish in Berlin you will pretty much have to source your fish yourself and that of course poses a tremendous logistical and financial challenge.
Gingi's Izakaya is truly an institution in the land of Berlin sushi
Gingi sources all his fish personally from markets in Berlin and definitely makes the most out of it. The recommended choice of food at Gingi's is one of the Omakase chef's choice menu, which essentially is a surprise menu consisting out of several courses and a great way to sample the best stuff the place has to offer on any given night. Choose either between "Gingi's Teller", a menu that focuses on Sushi, or the "Izakaya Menü", which is an extended sushi menu with a couple of tapas. Generally the rule of thumb at Gingi's is to focus on the essentials and this means don't stray too far away from the sushi. For first time visitors I would recommend the menu with the tapas as those usually consist out of sashimi or similar items that are very tasty. The sushi at Gingi's is very solid and both the rice and the fish count among the city's best. My favorite items on the menu are the nigiri variations, Gingi always gets the size of the pieces right and even pulls it of to use unusual fish like Dorade. Importamt to mention is that Gingi's sushi creations aren't very classic, he loves to play around with sauces and ingredients and this especially applies to his rolls that can be borderline funky sometimes. That doesn't change the fact that most of them taste great, though. All in all, his food is very solid and if you're lucky, a meal at Gingi's will be rounded off with a dessert in the form of the chef's delicious green tea ice cream.
So yes, Gingi's Izakaya is still one of the best sushi restaurants Berlin has to offer, in spite of a certain lack of authenticity and quality, but if you stick to the sushi and stay away from the other dishes you're in for a great meal.